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Community Spotlight: NewBridges Immigrant Resources Center

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 5:52 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center has been working to build a community where everyone can thrive for more than 20 years.

Each year it has helped more and more people find their place in the Friendly City.

Especially now, with the conflicts in Ukraine and Afghanistan, there has been an influx of people looking to start a new life.

With Harrisonburg being a refugee relocation center, the city has welcomed them with open arms.

“Being a Friendly City means having friendly people, and that’s who everyone is in Harrisonburg,” Russell Leary, Executive Director of NewBridges Immigrant Resource Center, said.

But starting over in a new country and city, even a friendly one, comes with several challenges and needs.

“I think the primary need we see is just language access, and helping people who maybe don’t have strong English skills just know what’s going on and how they can access information,” Leary explained.

A lot of NewBridges’ staff is bilingual and have the skills to support those who need help.

“We have an immigration legal program, and we offer low-cost, but really reliable and dependable legal representation for people going through legal processes,” Leary said.

Those services are offered with compassion and understanding, letting people know NewBridges is an organization they can trust, which the nonprofit said makes all the difference.

“The immigrations story in the U.S. goes way, way back, and it will continue too. Harrisonburg is a place that has decided to make a commitment to welcoming people, so we are just one piece, I think, in the larger puzzle of making Harrisonburg that welcoming, friendly city that it is.”

NewBridges’ main focus for this year is working to expand its immigration legal program. So, if you’d like to help, you can donate and stay up to date by going to its website newbridgesirc.org.

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